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Luther C. Tibbets was born in South Berwick, York County, Maine, June 26, 1820. His father, James Tibbets, was a native of the same State and a farmer by occupation. The subject of this sketch was educated in the public schools and reared a farmer until seventeen years of age. He then located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, first engaging as a clerk in mercantile houses, and later established a general merchandise store at Great Falls, New Hampshire, which enterprise he conducted until 1844, when be sold out the establishment to his brother. It is worthy of mention that the mercantile house he established nearly half a century ago is still in existence, conducted by his brother and descendants, under the firm name of E. A. Tibbets & Son. Mr. Tibbets continued his mercantile pursuits, establishing himself in Portsmouth, and later transferring the scene of his operations to Boston, Massachusetts, where he opened a wholesale grocery business. He remained there until 1852, and then seeking a broader field of operations located in New York. The next ten years were spent in a large wholesale grocery business. In 1862 he entered into produce and grain dealing, and became one of the heaviest grain operators in the city. At that time the war was in active prosecution; bread-stuffs and cereals were being “cornered,” and the Government as well as other consumers was a special mark for the greed of the speculators. Mr. Tibbets declined to enter into “rings,” and especially did lie decline to combine against his country in meeting the provision supply for her immense armies. This excited the enmity of his rivals, and through the manipulations of the Produce Exchange in its rulings upon his contracts, etc., he lost a fortune and became seriously crippled financially.
In 1866 he left New York City and took up his residence in Glens Falls, New York, and the next year moved to Virginia and located at Fredericksburg. There he entered into the general merchandise business. The late war had terribly embittered the Southern people against the Northern men, and Mr. Tibbets became a mark for their persecutions. His strong Union sentiments were never hidden, nor did he seek to palliate or excuse any action of the Government in its prosecution of the war. He was not that sort of a man. The consequence was that he was compelled to leave that country in order to save his life. In doing this he sacrificed his all. He then went to Washington, thinking the strong arm of the general Government would extend its protection and something might be saved from the wreck of his business.
His call was in vain, and in 1870 he gathered his scanty means together and sought a home on the Pacific coast. Upon reaching California he located in Riverside and established his residence upon sections 31 and 32, and bought a claim for 160 acres on section 34. This tract is now the location of Arlington on Center Avenue, west of Magnolia Avenue, well known as Tibbet’s tract, or Tibbet’s station. Later he sold the northern eighty acres and purchased sixty acres on section 32, one and one-fourth miles west of his home place on Magnolia Avenue. For many years Mr. Tibbets devoted his land to general farming and stock raising, engaging in horticultural pursuits only to the extent of planting a fine family orchard and vineyard. In alfalfa growing he has led the colony, having each year nearly 100 acres devoted to that product. During the years of 1887 and 1888, the demand for villa and town lots induced Mr. Tibbets to subdivide and plat his eighty-acre tract. Broad avenues were laid out. Parks reserved, and the land placed on the market. Many of the lots were sold and improvements made, until the depression in the real-estate market caused him to suspend further sale until the demand was more marked. He has some of the choicest land, located in one of the most desirable spots in Riverside colony, and the near future is des-tined to see them occupied by beautiful and pleasant homes.
Mr. Tibbets has been identified with Riverside from the foundation of the colony in 1870, and has been a supporter of any enterprise that tended to build up his section. The establishment of schools and churches found a liberal contributor in him, as in fact, did any enterprise that would, in his opinion, add to the welfare of the community. Mr. Tibbets has been twice married.
In 1848 he married Miss Johanna Twombly, a native of Maine. She died in 1858, leaving four children, but two of whom are now living, viz..: Frank J., a resident of Washington, District of Columbia, and Luther C., who resides in New York city. One of his daughters, Harriet E., married Mr. James B. Summons, a well-known pioneer resident of Riverside, and died in 1875. Mr. Tibbets was again married in 1863 to Mrs. Eliza M. Lovell, a native of Ohio. No children have been born from this marriage.